Originating in the United States, PGA Junior League Golf brings the “little league” mentality to the sport of golf by introducing a team environment for juniors.
The PGA Jr. League starts with a golf professional fielding a junior team of either boys or girls under the age of 13 to participate in friendly competitions against other clubs in the area. Each team participates in three regular season competitions and takes a turn hosting visiting teams.
The Junior League competitions use the team scramble format to accommodate players of all skill levels and to reinforce participation – the main goal of the initiative. Following each match, all teams are provided with a complimentary lunch and a review of the day’s results. All the information is also made available through the website, which provides detailed standings leading up to regional and national championships.
Jeff Overholt, a PGA of Canada professional who piloted PGA Jr. League in 2013, shares his enthusiasm for what the program has to offer.
“The PGA Jr. League program allows participants to experience the ups and downs of competitive golf with the support of 7 – 10 other team members,” explained Overholt. “The players absolutely loved the team play as it made them feel like they belonged to something bigger and allowed for players of all skill levels to be a part of the team”.
Overholt, along with two other PGA of Canada professionals, hosted visiting teams during a four week period last September. The following leaders in junior golf experienced immediate success with recruiting players for their teams.
Laird White – National Golf Club,Woodbridge, Ont.
David Fritz – St. Andrew’s Valley & Westview Golf Course,Aurora, Ont.
Jeff Overholt – Golf Performance Coaches at Carrying Place Golf Course, Kettleby, Ont.
“It’s a perfect introduction to competitive golf for juniors,” said Overholt. “More skilled players were paired with beginners to ensure all players were able to experience success in their matches.”
PGA Jr. League Golf launched as a pilot program in the United States in 2011 with participating teams from four different states. Since then, they have partnered with the PGA of America to bring the program to nearly 9,000 participants in 2013.
Find a Junior League in your area by visiting the website.